Fort Lauderdale Magazine Releases First Issue, Includes Story on Obese Cat

We've got some high-brow competition. And we know him well. 

This month, 20,000 copies of Fort Lauderdale Magazine flooded local mailboxes while another 10,000 copies are working there way into doctors offices, law firms, and the buildings of other professionals fancy enough to have waiting rooms.

The editorial brains behind the new publication: Eric Barton, former New Times editor. So how does it feel to go from getting guys out of jail and pummeling the scum of the underworld with alt-weekly journalism to fashionista photo shoots for a glossy cover and editing charming tales of obese cats?  

"It's definitely different," Barton says. "For me personally, the biggest challenge was slowing down. I'd get a story and think that I have to move this thing right away. But I'm no longer rushing to beat everyone else to a blog item."

The magazine, published by PD Strategic Media, which has ties to Print Dynamics, is slated to put out six issues this year and then 12 in year two. But, Barton says, that plan might be accelerated if things go well with the first few issues.  

Perhaps one of the biggest changes Barton has experienced is sharing the stories with sources before the book goes to print. "One of things I've been doing is sending the stories to the source. And every time I do it, I find a couple of things that need to be tweaked," he says. "At an alt weekly, if you sent a story to a source, they would pick it apart. But I haven't had a problem with it yet."

When it comes to the tone, Barton says he wanted to craft a voice that was upscale but not Palm Beach. "If you go to a gala here, you meet people that are very easy to talk to. I wanted to have storytelling and conversational writing, even if you're writing about high-end jewelry," he says. 

The first issue includes a feature on the proposed Wave Streetcar -- Barton is still undecided on whether it's a good idea for the city -- a package on ski-friendly getaways in Colorado, and, of course, an essay on a 30-pound feline named Jackson Hole. 

As for the long-term prospects, Barton is well aware of the challenges all magazines face but confident that Fort Lauderdale Magazine is here to stay. "I've got Seattle Magazine sitting on my desk right now, and it's 178 pages," he says. "People are really returning to city magazines."

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